Seagate’s new flagship drive is a case of “one step forward, one step back” as it features an increased buffer size (now at 16MB) compared with the previous generation drive, but a lower areal density, if you can believe that. It features a four-platter configuration, so at 500GB this drive is running 125GB per platter.
The previous-generation drive achieved a 400GB capacity with three platters, which equals 133GB per platter. The bizarre thing is we heard Seagate is offering a 160GB version of the 7200.9 that uses just a single platter. Why Seagate chose not to use its highest capacity platters in its flagship drive is beyond us. We do like that the drive can dynamically change its interface speed from SATA 150 to SATA 3G depending on the controller speed.
In testing, The 7200.9 is faster than its predecessor in nearly every measure of performance, except one: sequential read speed. Compared with the DiamondMax 11, though, the Seagate simply gets “owned,” to use the common vernacular. The disparity in performance between the two drives is surprising considering they share the exact same buffer size, platter density, and rotational velocity. While we wouldn’t characterize this drive as “slow,” its performance isn’t impressive.
Month Reviewed: February 2006
+ Big-ass drive: Huge capacity; five-year warranty; quiet.
- Big ass: Not much faster than the 7200.8; runs warm; slower than the competition.